Addition, Attrition & the 2012 Iowa Roster

The Iowa football roster has had it’s share of makeovers to get to this point in time. I’d like to think most of the changes are accounted for an everyone we expect to report to camp in August actually makes it there.

If history is any indicator, that’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t expect too much tumult between now and the start of camp.

Below, you will find a graphic that lays out Iowa’s expect 2012 roster by position as it relates to scholarship players.

I have taken the past five recruiting classes, as you will have players from five classes on campus at any point in time. The recently signed 2012 class is listed, as are the 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 classes. Just two players from that 2008 class will not be factored in due to either expired eligibility or choosing to leave early; Shaun Prater and Riley Reiff.

First the data and then the discussion. Email me at [email protected] if anything seems out of sorts and I will look into it. You can also access the data in at this link, which will let you see comments related to each one of the program’s defections from the last five recruiting classes.

(Quick Note: I moved players to their ‘at Iowa’ positions for those who enrolled and spent time in the program. For instance Scott Covert started at defensive line and moved to fullback before leaving Iowa; I put him in the running backs grouping as that is what he was at the time of his departure)

Over the past five recruiting classes, Iowa has signed 113 players. 29 of those players are no longer with the program for a number of reasons, including four players never making it to Iowa due to grades; Rodney Coe, Stephane Ngoumou, Khalif Statten and David Blackwell.

That’s an attrition rate of more than 1 in 4.

43 players signed with Iowa in their lightly regarded (by the recruiting services) 2008 & 2009 classes. Of those 43 players, just 25 will suit up for Iowa in 2012. Those are the 5th year senior and 4th year junior classes. Those are your upper classmen, players who typically are the leaders of your program. For Iowa, 42 percent of the players from those classes are no longer with the program. Of the 18 no longer around, 8 were on defense and 10 were on offense.

You hate to sit around on February 13th and realize your favorite football team has some pretty big challenge to overcome in its coming season, but that’s the reality for the 2012 Hawkeyes. Next year’s team will have some upper class leaders, but likely not enough of them. Some younger players will step into leadership roles and will see a lot of playing time, a fact that bodes well for 2013 & 2014, but the program is likely going to take a few more lumps next year before they start delivering those lumps 19 months from now.

Here is further evidence to support that assumption; Iowa will have 82 recruited athletes on their rosters in 2012, at least at this point in time. That’s 82 players who were awarded scholarships coming out of high school. This does not include walkons. Of those 82, 43 of them (or 52.4% of the scholarship roster) will be members of the most recent two recruiting classes. 42 of those 43 will be first or second year players, not counting Juco QB Cody Sokol in that mix as he will be a ‘third year in college’ player with three years to play two. Juco OL Eric Simmons will have four years to play three and the coming year will be his second year in college.

I don’t have comparative roster data to examine to see how this lines up with other programs, and most programs are likely heavy in the bottom two classes due to normal attrition factors, but this seems like a very high number that Iowa is carrying compared to the rest of their scholarship roster.

Eight of the 29 players who either didn’t make it into the program, transfered or were dismissed were running backs. Given that Iowa had 17 total scholarship backs (including fullbacks), that is an attrition rate of 47 percent.

The most ‘steady’ positions for Iowa, the positions that have seen the least amount of attrition, have been offensive line and linebacker. Each position has a total of 17 but just two not making it all the way.

This may be an unfair generalization, but I think it bodes well for the program going forward that the two coaches who have overseen those positions (Darrell Wilson with linebackers and Reese Morgan with the offensive line) are still with the program and have been reassigned to different position groups. Wilson is now the defensive backs coach and Morgan is the defensive line coach.

I do believe some of the defensive line attrition Iowa has seen in recent years is attributable to Rick Kascenski’s ‘in your face’ style. He left the Iowa program in December and is now with Nebraska.

I think it’s a little more challenging to apply the same line of thought to Iowa’s running back position, as the majority of the defections have either been borne out of off field decisions/disciplinary instances or depth chart considerations.

What does the data suggest to you? Does it adjust your thinking related to the 2012 season? What stands out? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  • Andypaugh

    With some new assistants coming in, I’m going to cut them some slack, but I think the program is at a real crossroad. After next year, we’re going to get better or worse. If I was Ferentz, I’d be a little nervous because this could be the beginning of the end for him.

    • hawk4ever

      Don’t count him out yet he has a contract that pays him almost 4 million a year through 2020 he is not going anywhere or is Iowa buying him out. Can you say a VERY VERY rich man…

  • Anonymous

    It is very obvious that the Iowa football program has an athlete retention
    problem compared to other schools.  Turnover is very costly to any organization whether it is football, businesses, etc.  It takes a lot of resources (costs a lot of money) to recruit, develop and retain student athletes.  When athletes leave for whatever reason, it consumes a lot of resources to replace them. I realize that this cost is funded by the athletic department budget, but this budget is funded by season ticket holders and other financial contributors.  In Iowa’s case, the data reflects the obvious.  There is not enough experience and physically mature, talented  athletes at the junior and senior class level to provide the leadership and strength needed to be a Big Ten conference contender.   The situation is made worse by the fact that Iowa is not able to recruit enough talented ( four and five star players) like Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, etc. to utilize from the freshman and sophomore level.
    Unfortunately, I look for 2012 to be a down year in terms of wins and losses
    for Iowa football.  I hope that I am wrong.

    • HAman

      We have an athlete retention problem?  First, get the statistics from the other top 40 teams in the country, otherwise, you are blowing hot air into the wind.  Second,  how many have been due to injury, homesick, and grades?  These are all factors that have little to do with the coach, and everything to do to the player.  We are not going to be able to get all honor roll student athletes to Iowa, and compete in the conference—take that excuse out of your mind also.  
      We have a few who have not lived up to there recruited potential.  We have reached on a few athletes and succeeded.  Some of our reaches have  paid off.  KF goes after the top athletes.  And many do not want to come to Iowa.  Of those who have come, a few of these “Elite athletes” have gotten in trouble with the law in one way or another (another topic about the I.C. Police Dept).  So this discussion has a variety of issues that take away from this “we have a trend” idea.  We can reiterate recruiting base every day.  Just a basic hurdle we have to jump.  So, be realistic!

  • A_stoecken

    Did anybody see the mass amount of defections at Maryland? It would rival Iowa’s, which leads me to think is this a problem with kids at a lot of places or a few.  I can admit at 18-22 years old if I got upset it was easier to leave the tough problems then make it work. 

  • Jts87047

    I think one that you might have missed is a kid by the name of Gray a LB who left during Fall Camp

  • Magicdave

    I don’t see Adam Robinson on the list. Wasn’t he in the same class as Weger?

    • hawk4ever

      one year older

  • namvet

    the Iowa coaching staff needs to do a better job at evaluating the character of the recruits and why the recruits actually want to come to Iowa.

  • Ricky

    I love how people only think defections happen here at Iowa… jeez people, it happens EVERYWHERE… as you start getting better players and more sought after players, you are going to have more and more defections because said players want playing time…. USC, Florida, Michigan, etc…. they ALL have defections year in and year out… Some people seriously need to pay attention more to the landscape of college football

  • Jersey Hawk

    We’re toast.

  • Rmcdonald422

    People need to do a better job of realizing they don’t know what they are talking about.  “It’s very obvious Iowa has an athlete retention problem.”  Actually, with no comparisons it is not obvious and actually we do a fairly good job compared to many other schools.

    People need to realize that they should just cheer on the team and stop wringing their hands over something they have little knowledge on and even less experience with, and literally no control over.  Most Hawkeye fans favorite pasttime lately is COMPLAINING.  Those of us that have been fans for 20-30 years or longer, we know how good we have it.  Those who are newer, you have no idea and are spoiled with the success that Ferentz has had.  You don’t remember the times we hoped we would have a winning season or prayed that we would just make ANY bowl game.
    People need to realize that we have a great program that produces good young men, we have one of the best graduation rates in the country (that is the whole point, is it not?) and we win more than we lose.  But, because the fair weather fans and the newer spoiled fans think we have a birthright to the BCS and 10 win seasons, that’s not good enough. 

    It’s getting old.  Fans need to wake up and realize we have it pretty good.                       

  • Brown51201

    If you look at Iowa’s positions over the Ferentz years, one of the more disappointing areas is at running back. For a team that is run first and run heavy we have put very few running backs in the NFL. Now that is not the most important litmus test for success but I think it’s something worth noting given your assessment of that position and the recent defections. I think that position lends itself to a lot of turmoil since many great football players in high school are running backs and quarterbacks but they simply will not translate into those positions at the next level. So when these players who all think they’re going to the NFL are asked to change position, they flake out and leave. And how many times have past transfers been heard of again? Not many. Benny Sapp being the only one I can think of. There’s probably one or two more I haven’t thought of. In any case, the coaches usually know best (think of Marvin McNutt and Matt Roth and Dallas Clark as obvious examples). Having a player change positions to one more suitable to their skills is a good thing but sometimes these high caliber athletes are difficult and think they know best. In the end, as frustrated as I’ve been with the conservative offense and the play calling and some personnel dealings, I think we need to be happy that Kirk Frentz is our coach. There are a lot of more storied programs out there with a worse track record than ours over the past decade.

  • Catch 5

    Excellent article.  I have been doing a study on attrition among SEC and B10 schools over the last couple of years, and this is the best information I have found outside of what I am trying to compile for an explaination of a team’s attrition.  The purpose of my study is to see if teams that oversign truly experience a higher degree of attrition than those that don’t (so far the evidence is inconclusive)  I’m working on the 2009 class now, but the results from the 2008 class are:
    OSU – 31.6%
    Mich – 30.4%
    Wisky – 38.5%
    Purdue – 20.0%
    NW – 30.0%
    Nebraska – 23.1%
    Minnesota – 32.1%
    PSU – 21.4%
    Iowa – 41.7%
    Illinois – 28.6%
    Indiana – 26.3%
    Mich St – 47.6%
    B10 average = 30.9%

    BTW, the SEC average is 35.7%

    Players that don’t qualify or otherwise never enroll are removed completely, and players redshirt but leave after 4 years are not calculated as that is too difficult for me to track and these players have more often than not received their degree and are thus considered successfull in my eyes (same with early entrants into the NFL). 

    Iowa’s 41.7% is quite high, but whether or not that is a trend or an anomoly cannot be determined without a few more year’s worth of data.

    If you would like, I’ll send you the complete results after I get the 2009 classes completed.  just send me an e-mail (I assume you can get it from where I signed in)

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